Demand for new homes in Spain may have collapsed, but the number of new homes being finished is still close to record highs thanks to long lead times in the construction sector. According to new data from the Ministry of Development (Fomento) there were 615,000 construction completions in 2008, just 4.1% less than the all time record of 641,400 in 2007.
Until August of 2008 construction completions were running higher than the previous year. After the summer the trend started to head downwards. Given the recent collapse in new housing starts, we can expect the trend to continue downwards for the next few years.
Despite much talk from the government about fighting the construction downturn by building more social housing, just 1.2% of the new homes finished last year were government subsidised. Nevertheless, social housing construction completions did increase 18% on the previous year, from 5,700 to 6,700.